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October 4, 2016

Facebook takes on eBay and Craigslist with Marketplace app feature

Facebook is staking out mCommerce territory.

By Alexander Sword

Facebook has launched a feature that will allow users to buy and sell items through its app.

The Marketplace feature allows users over 18 to browse or search for items for sale based on categories including location, category or price.

Facebook

The new feature aims to capitalise on existing eCommerce activity on Facebook.

When users see a product that they wish to buy, they can tap the image to see details such as a product description, the name and profile photo of the seller, and their general location.

To buy a product, the user can send a direct message to make an offer, although Facebook does not provide the mechanism for paying for or delivering the items.

There is a built-in location tool to allow users to adjust the region they are shopping in.

Users can also sell through the app by taking a photo of the item, entering the details and selecting a category, confirming the location and then pressing post.

The Facebook app will now have a shop icon in the bottom corner, which users can tap to activate the service. The service will become available through the desktop version of Facebook in the near future.

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Marketplace is initially launching in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand, with release in other markets scheduled for the next few months.

Facebook

Users can sell items using the app.

The new feature aims to capitalise on an existing eCommerce market on Facebook, mainly operating through groups on the site.

According to Facebook’s own figures, over 450 million people per month visit buy and sell groups on the site.

The move is placing Facebook in territory currently dominated by sites such as eBay and Craigslist.com.

It is not just online shopping where Facebook has an opportunity. In a recent CBR interview, Paul Barnes, Territory Director for Northern Europe and Middle East for App Annie, commented that many traditional banking functions such as peer-to-peer payments could move to chat apps such as WhatsApp.

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